Wenger: Bendtner was 80 per cent out the door, until I stopped him

Nicklas Bendtner Denmark

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told how he convinced Nicklas Bendtner to stay at the club.

For some Tuesday night is just Capital One Cup night, for Nicklas Bendtner it could be the biggest game of his career.

The Dane was against all odds handed a final chance by manager Arsene Wenger, when it had seemed he had used his last throw of the dice.

Now he is expected to lead the Arsenal line in their cup game in a glamour tie at home to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, and can finally become a hero for the club again.

It was in the last round he made his comeback, starting against West Brom and converting one of the penalties in the shootout.

Manager Arsene Wenger has in preparation for the game admitted how close the Dane was to leaving, until a lack of alternatives at the Emirates led to him asking the striker to hang around.

He said: "Nicklas has been away for a lot of time and he was half – when I say half I mean 80 per cent - out of the club, and in the end he decided to stay and I stopped him from going.

"I must say, he responded in a positive way and that is what we want from him now. I believe he is physically ready, a very good player and if his concentration is 100 per cent to commit himself to the cause he will be a great asset for us. But that is what you want from him in this game."

On whether the fans will come around to him, he added that he thinks they already have, "You want to be respected and liked by your own fans, and I think he is. Nicklas will get even more credit if has a great fight tomorrow and does well."

 

If Bendtner can play a crucial role in wiping the smile off Jose Mourinho's face, a manager Arsene Wenger has never beaten, cup game or not - the decision to keep the Dane will begin to look like a very shrewd one.

Can Bendtner be a matchwinner? What do you think?

image: © Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi

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